The story of a day in the life of an unsuccessful office worker

3:45pm “I’m so proud of you.”

Back at my desk.  

Ok. I’ve got an external meeting at four fifteen. That gives me fifteen minutes to finish a couple of things and get going. 

Let’s see now…I need to get the Ashley file… 

The telephone cuts off that thought. 

“Good afternoon, Cable Communications Finance Department. This is Stewart.” 

“Oh is that you, Stewart?” starts off a high pitched, friendly, familiar voice. “It’s your aunt Mary here. How are you love?” 

Aunt Mary is a sweet old lady who lives on a beautiful one acre property in Daylesford, a town in South Eastern Australia.  

We love Aunt Mary. She makes the best cakes and has a heart of gold. I always enjoy going up to visit her. 

Only one problem - she talks for long periods, and right now I need to get things done. How can I, well, promptly dispense with this call without hurting her feelings? 

“I’m fine, thanks Aunt Mary. How are you?” 

“Oh I’m going along just fine up here thanks.” she continues at one hundred miles an hour. “And how’s your job going? Oh, it’s so hard to believe you’re a working man now. You’ve all grown up so fast. It seems only yesterday that you used to visit us as kids and swim in the pool and make billy carts and play with Bouncer and we used to used to all eat cakes and scones out on the verandah looking over the valley and oh, where does the time go?” 

“Time sure flies Aunt Mary. Actually, speaking of time..” 

“That’s right Stewart,” she continues long before I can finish. “Now you’re all grown up and we’re all getting older. Look at me, I’m sixty-seven now and I was speaking to Mavis, from down the road just the other day and we were having a lovely chat and her nephew got married last week and my boys are all overseas now and oh, Stewart, I just don’t know how to keep up with it all!” 

“And how are things up at Macedon?” 

“Oh, Stewie, I won’t say I don’t get lonely. You know, it’s only been, what is it, nearly a year now since John died. But I’m getting along alright and Toby’s keeping me good company and I take him for a lovely walk around the lake every morning and some days I take him into town and oh he’s a lovely dog, and..” 

“Stewart” Lisa Rogers whispers as she approaches my desk. 

“Ah, just hold on a second can you Aunt Mary?” She doesn’t hear me, so I take the phone receiver away from my ear. Aunt Mary continues to talk into to an unoccupied phone receiver. 

“Yeah, Lisa?”  

“Do you have the keys to the journal file cabinet?” 

“Ah, no. Bill’s got them.” 


Back to Aunt Mary, who has not skipped a beat. 

“and the bowls club’s still going well but, oh we had a break in last week and some young people threw a bottle through the clubroom window and oh, isn’t it terrible the what young people get up to these days drinking and smoking and doing burnouts and spinning their cars in one of those circles and oh, Stewie, what’s happening to young people these days, I don’t know…………………………………………………….” 

“Aunt Mary, I’m sorry, I’ve actually got a meeting now. Can I call you back tonight?” 

“Of course you can, Stewie. Oh Stewie, listen to me, you’re old auntie Mary jabbering on when you’ve got a meeting to get to, hah hah hah. Oh Stewie, you’re such a busy boy, I’m so proud of you. Well, you go off to your meeting and I’ll talk to you later.  

“Ok Aunt Mary.” 

“OK Stewie. Bye.” 

Ten minutes have passed, as has any chance that I will finish anything before the meeting. 

I love Aunt Mary. It’s important to take time out to talk to those who are important in your life – friends and family.  

However, it’s probably best if relatives do not have your office number.


  1. February 8th, 2008 | 4:09 pm

    You’re like a real-life Spiderman!

  2. February 12th, 2008 | 11:55 pm

    Calls like Aunt Mary’s are a real litmus test of your love for a loved one. :)

  3. February 19th, 2008 | 2:16 pm


    I suppose my life is nearly as complicated as that of Peter Parker - then again, he did have a difficult life.


    As kind as Aunt Mary is, these type of calls can test one’s patience.

    It’s important, I think, to take time to talk to the people you love - including relevatives. However, there is a time and a place for everything. Work time is work time.



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